UK ministers ask to put in place ‘strong contingency plan’ for Covid absence

Boris Johnson have called on ministers to put in place a ‘robust contingency plan’ to tackle coronavirus-related staff absences that threaten to disrupt the UK businesses and supply chain in the coming weeks.

With the rising number of cases exacerbating staffing shortages already plaguing many sectors, public sector leaders have been asked to experiment with worst-case scenarios of shortages. manpower shortage up to 25%.

The Cabinet Office said leaders had identified a range of measures, including identifying additional staff – such as volunteers in the public sector or former teachers in schools.

Steve Barclay, Cabinet Office Secretary, will chair regular meetings with ministers in an effort to closely monitor the impact of Omicron workforce and supply chain.

Labor accused the government of dropping contingency plans until the “final” moment.

The Cabinet Office announced the disruption caused by the new variant was under control in “most parts of the public sector” and confirmed the government’s move to shorten the duration of Covid’s self-isolation from 10 days down to 7 will help reduce time away.

“As people return to work after the Christmas holidays, Omicron’s high transmission levels mean business and public services will face disruption in the coming weeks, particularly due to Employee absenteeism is higher than usual,” Barclay said.

“We have been working throughout the Christmas period to prepare when possible for this, with all departments in close communication with public and private sector leaders who are well placed. to manage their workforce. The best way to fight Omicron is to get a buff and I encourage anyone who is eligible to get a buff right now.”

Britain reported 162,572 new cases on Saturday as Health Secretary Sajid Javid insisted additional restrictions “must be an absolute last resort”.

Writing in the Daily Mail on Friday, he said: “Since I took up this role six months ago, I am also acutely aware of the enormous health, social and economic costs of lockdown. So I’ve determined that we have to give ourselves the best chance to live with the virus and avoid strict measures in the future. “

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospital, ambulance, community and mental health trusts, said Omicron’s impact on the NHS will only become apparent in next few days.

He said on Twitter on Saturday that ministers “must be ready to introduce new restrictions if needed”.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of NHS Confederation, has warned that pressure on the NHS could force hospitals to reintroduce the ban on visitors.

Deputy Labor leader Angela Rayner said: “Boris Johnson’s lack of leadership means his government has collapsed and delayed, leaving contingency planning until the very last moment.

“Boris Johnson should have instructed his ministers to start planning weeks in advance, but instead he went missing for days on end.

“With the record number of Covid infections, the prime minister must immediately grasp the workforce pressure, keep essential services running, keep schools open and keep everyone safe.”

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